Northeast feeling Wilma's impact

After roughing up Florida, Hurricane Wilma is now affecting parts of the northeast U.S.

BY HEATHER MOYER | BALTIMORE | October 25, 2005


After roughing up Florida, Hurricane Wilma is now affecting parts of the northeast U.S.

Still a Category 2 storm, Wilma is bringing high winds and storm surge to parts of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Wilma combined with Tropical Storm Alpha and is also being influenced by a large low pressure system over much of the northeast, creating a noreaster.

Heavy rains are falling from Pennsylvania into New York and New England. In New Hampshire, where flooding already devastated several southwestern towns, residents are growing weary of all the rain. "We haven't see much sun in weeks," said Jim Van Dongen, spokesperson for the New Hampshire Bureau of Emergency Management.

Van Dongen said the weather pattern moving into the area is very complicated. "We've got a flood watch for the entire state, a high wind warning for much of the state and we're expecting a pretty good storm surge along the coast that could cause flooding," he explained.

"It's a little bit of everything, but fortunately nothing bad has happened yet."

Some residents are already without power due to the high winds, he added, but for the most part the agency is just keeping an eye out for worsening conditions.

"We're not sure of the exact rain amounts we'll receive, but if it's only one or two inches we'll be fine," Van Dongen said. "If we get more than that, then we'll have some problems."

Massachusetts residents are contending with heavy rainfall and high winds as well, and a spokesperson for the state emergency management agency said the dangers will shift as Tuesday goes by.

"Our main focus right now has been the strong winds and power outages hitting us," said Peter Judge, spokesperson for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. "In the evening hours we'll transition into watching the rain accumulation more closely. It may present issues relative to some minor localized flooding. Smaller rivers and streams are already reaching flood stage."

Judge said once Tuesday night arrives, the focus turns to the high tides worsened by Hurricane Wilma. "We know the winds could gust up to 25 miles per hour along the coast and there's a two to three foot storm surge anticipated."

He added that the higher elevations in western Mass. could even receive up to eight inches of snow if the temperature decreases enough Tuesday night.

Around New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, flood watches and warnings are in effect. Winter storm warnings are in effect for higher elevations. The northeast has been drenched with heavy rains for the last two weeks and authorities worry that the saturated ground will only make flooding more likely in some areas.


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